It is frightening how we are becoming increasingly comfortable living with inconsistency. Let me explain…
A few months ago I finished up a series of messages in the church about stewardship. As I have come to understand it, the Biblcal concept of stewardship refers to a way of responsible living, utilizing all the resources we have been given in a way that benefits others and ultimately brings glory to God. Most, if not all, who hear this message agree and will committ themselves to good stewardship of their time and resources – they will recycle, find ways to spend quality time with their families, etc… But when I begin to talk about their money, how they are to be good stewards of those resources, giving generously to the mission of the church, that’s when things fall apart. Never mind that the Bible teaches that if you are not giving 10% you are robbing God. Nevermind that leaves us with 90% to live on. Repeatedly, when I preach the tithe, people will come to me and say, “That’s all well and good, but I’m not giving another dime to the church!”
Consider the issue of salvation. The Bible teaches that, apart from Christ, we are dead in our trespasses and sins. Dead is dead, there’s no Monty Python – “I’m only slightly dead” schtick going on hear. We are spiritually and morally dead in our sins and desparetly in need of a savior. Most people sitting in the pew on Sunday morning will agree with this.
But if I begin to say that the savior we need is Jesus Christ, and there is no other name in heaven or on earth by which we are saved (as is clearly taught in the Bible), then people start to squirm. When I go on to teach that we are saved by God’s grace alone; that God chooses to save us when we are dead and cannot save ourselves – wow. People really get upset. “What about my free choice?!”
I have actually had one person tell me that they do not believe that God elects those whom He saves, but it is up to us to make that decision, and then, in the next breath, go on to say that he is praying that God would save his friend.
What has happpened to the human mind that we can live with such inconsistency? I would think that living with such a paradox would cause the brain to explode. How can we continue to say, “Well, I know the Bible teaches this… but I choose to do that.”
Here is my proposal: We need to institute the practice of the “Holy Slap.” (This is not unlike the Holy Kiss that Paul encouarged for Christians when they gather in fellowship.) When confronted by such glaring paradox, for the spiritual and mental health of the church and community, brothers and sisters in Christ should be permitted to partake in a “Holy Slap.”
Here are a few guidlines:
1) Only one slap per person/per day: otherwise it might become abusive, or you might develop carple tunnel
2) Pastors and Clergy members are not exempt from the Holy Slap – it may be that we need to be slapped around the most – we’re probably the start of most of societies problems.
3) You can only slap those whom you know are Christians – as Christians, people of the Word, disciples of Christ – they should know better
4) The slap must be accompanied with the truth – after slapping the confused and misguided, show them the error of their ways, you will have caught their attention – and perhaps they will listen for a second or two in stunned silence.
Whatever you do – do it to the glory of God, and for his sake, let’s try to be consistent –
James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”